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Celebrating 20 Years Protecting the Environment 
2014 VEC Public Meetings: January 15, February 19, March 19, April 9, May 21, June 18 (Firemen's room), September 17 (Annex), October 15 (Firemen's room), November 19 (Annex) and December 17 (Firemen's room). The commission meets once a month on Wednesday from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Verona Community Center located at 880 Bloomfield Ave., Verona, NJ 07044. The public is welcome to attend.
All VEC members are Verona residents, serve without compensation and are appointed by the Mayor. Join us in protecting Verona's environment for the health and well being of all. Going "Green" together is easy. Contact us at veronaenvironmental@gmail.com or write to: Verona Environmental Commission, 6oo Bloomfield Avenue, Verona, New Jersey 07044.

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Peckman Trail
The VEC won an open space grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions to preserve the trail adjacent to the river located behind F. N. Brown School. The work began on April 26 with a trail cleanup. Over 40 volunteers show up and did some grueling work. See a map of the trail and more information HERE - During the summer, starting on June 18, drop by on Wednesdays between 9 & 11 am to help the Verona Environmental Commission care for the trail Each Wednesday we will water the new trees & plants. Rain cancels (July 16 is canceled). Any time that you can give us will help! Please let us know if you are planning to come at veronaenvironmental@gmail.com 

May 31 Tree Planting Event
The VEC organized a planting event on May 31 in the Peckman woods. The commission purchased 6 Ostrich ferns, 2 Serviceberries, 3 River Birches and 3 Swamp White Oaks. VDPW provided compost and tools and delivered the native trees to the site. Over 20 volunteers and 16 kids participated. Volunteers used a submersible pump provided by the BOE to water the trees. The commission also installed watering bags in all trees and will keep filling the bags all summer long. The VEC also plans to develop a trail guide.

First VEC Student Member
At its April 7 meeting, the Town Council unanimously appointed Julia Capuano as an Environmental Commission Alternate Member. Julia is the first student member since the commission was established over 20 years ago. Julia is a sophomore at Verona High School and a member of VHS Environmental Club. She feels protecting the environment for ourselves and future generations is crucial and she plans on attending college for environmental science. Julia has been attending the VEC public meetings for the past few months and she is currently collaborating in recycling and clean up projects. The VEC congratulates Julia Capuano on her new appointment!

The Commission Welcomes New Member
At its March 3 meeting, the Town Council unanimously approved Ms. Pearson as a full voting member of the VEC. During its March 19 VEC public meeting at the Verona Community Center VEC Chair Machnowski congratulated Pearson on her new appointment. Since Ms. Pearson joined the commission as an alternate in October 2013 she has repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to the environment of Verona and the work of the VEC. She has put in countless hours researching issues we face. We are proud to count her as one of our members and look forward to her contributions.


The VEC at the Fair
The commission participated in Verona Fair in the Square on December 7th. The VEC table was busy all day long with residents of all ages. Visitors learned about Sustainable Jersey, a free certification program for municipalities that want to go green and save money in the process. Verona recently joined the program. Many residents signed up to volunteer in the Green Team, a new commission that will coordinate Verona's sustainability efforts. Children took the Kid's Green Challenge and everybody got a Sustainable Jersey pin and signed the 2014 Verona Pledge promising to recycle more, save water, eat more veggies, use reusable bags, walk more and drive less. Pictured, VEC members informing residents about Sustainable Jersey.

Proclamation for Shimonaski
On December 16 the former Chair of the VEC, Gerard Shimonaski, was honored with a proclamation by the Verona Town Council. The Council surprised him with a certificate of appreciation recognizing his 10 years of service and 6 years as the chairman on the Verona Environmental Commission. Shimonaski is the current Vice-Chair on the VEC and on the Verona's Public Safety Committee and he also serves as the township representative to the County Solid Waste Advisory Council (SWAC). He is pictured here with Town Council members and former and current VEC members. Congratulations Jerry!
Verona joined Sustainable Jersey
On Nov. 18 the VEC presented the program Sustainable Jersey to the Town Council and formally asked to create a resolution to register Verona in the program. The council's feedback was very positive. Verona became the 400th municipality in the state to join the program and the 20th Essex County municipality. Sustainable Jersey was launched in 2009 and it is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. There are over 125 actions that our municipality can earn points for in the Sustainable Jersey program. See the list of all the new actions in the Sustainable Jersey Overview Brochure. It is a free program that can help Verona do more of the work that it has been doing to improve the environment in Verona. It will give us preferred access to grant money and guidance on best practices to make Verona more environmentally friendly at a lower cost, saving money for our taxpayers. Once Verona joins the program we will need a Green Team to coordinate our sustainability efforts. If you would like to get involved please contact the commission at veronaenvironmental@gmail.com

Happy 20th Anniversary, VEC!
The Verona Environmental Commission is celebrating its 20 Year Anniversary. The VEC was established by Ordinance No. 9-92 on August 3, 1992. To commemorate the occasion a shade tree was planted by the Community Center's playground on October 2013.

The tree is a wonderful 12 feet tall White Oak (Quecus alba L.) White oaks are native to eastern North America and found from Maine to Minnesota southward to Florida and Texas. It is a large, stately tree that can grow from 80 to 100 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet in diameter around the trunk. It grows upright and produces acorns which are a good food source for wildlife. White oak is an excellent ornamental tree because of its broad round crown, dense foliage, and purplish-red to violet-purple fall color. Specimens have been documented to be over 450 years old!!

The commission would like to thank Hillcrest Farms and the township for supporting this initiative and specially Verona's Director of Community Services, Jim Cunningham and Department of Public Works Superintendent Chuck Molinaro. Happy 20th Anniversary, VEC!

Horticultural Vinegar
To reduce the presence of poison ivy at the schools, Paul McDevitt, Verona's director of public school facilities uses horticultural vinegar. Although horticultural vinegar is an organic product that you can order on-line and notification of its application is not required the BOE provided a notification . If you see a BOE employee using a spray dispenser on either weeds or poison ivy, please know that this is the horticultural vinegar being applied and not a chemical based weed killer. The Material Safety Data Sheet is posted on the Buildings and Grounds page of the district website. The VEC also recommended to use this product at Verona Pool and during the Aug. 12 Council Meeting, the Town Manager announced that they will. Common chemical pesticides contain glyphosate and are acutely toxic to humans. Glyphosate has been linked to Cancer, Autism, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. It was described as "extremely persistent" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Well done Verona!   

Township Trees

All those trees planted in the curb strips along most streets are Township Trees. Also, in a few specific locations just inside the sidewalks, right of way, and in public recreation areas. Verona has been a Tree City for 26 consecutive years.Request for Township planting, pruning and removal should be made by calling Public Works at 973-857-4804. To learn more about The Verona Shade Tree Commission, our Township Trees and how to help them please READ HERE. Residents are encouraged to contact the police at 911 to report any emergency and (973) 239-5000 regarding any police related matter. Trees or power lines that have come down should be reported.

VEC Annual Report: Please read it HEREThe township encourages all residents to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost as much of their household waste as possible. The Verona Recycling Center is located at 10 Commerce Court in Verona (map) and it is open Wednesday and Saturday 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. For more information please visit our Solid Waste and Recycling page, watch our videos and refer to the 2014 Verona Garbage and Recycling Schedule. You can access a live feed from Nixle here
VEC Videos:
New! Verona Recycling 101: the Verona Environmental Commission just produced this 6-minute HD video with the High School Environmental Club. The video was shot at the Recycling Center and explains our recycling guidelines.

Wastewater Treatment Facility: the commission produced this 8-minute video, please watch it to learn how you can help protect our waterways (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen).

Go Idle Free Verona is a 2 minute video from the VEC and it is part of the commission's campaign against unnecessary vehicle idling. The video was entirely shot and edited by VEC members in Verona. The commission would like to especially thank the HBW Environmental Club and the kids from Verona for their participation and support. We invite you to watch it and learn how you can help to enhance Verona's air quality (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen). An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour! NJ State Law prohibits idling more than three minutes for both diesel and gasoline non-emergency vehicles. Please Turn the Key -Be Idle Free!

Help Verona save money and go green. Click "play" below to watch our video Verona Recycling and reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can in Verona.

Let’s encourage kids to walk to school and support them by improving air quality and safe driving. Please watch our video presentation Idle Free Verona and spread the word!

VEC Programs:

Do You Have a Treasured Tree?

Do you have one of Verona's great trees in your yard? The VEC is accepting nominations for Verona's Treasured Trees. This program recognizes beautiful, mature trees and the homeowners who care for them. If you would like to nominate a tree please e-mail us. Homeowners whose trees are designated as Treasured Trees receive a tree plaque and the tree is included in our  "Virtual Tree Tour". One of the easiest ways to enhance our urban environment is to plant a tree. We encourage residents to plant native trees such as Oaks and Redbuds. They thrive with minimal attention and provide shelter and food to local wildlife. Click HERE for a list of wonderful native trees suitable for planting in our area. Pictured, a 2011 Treasured Tree, a majestic Red Oak located at 21 Anne Street in Verona. Trees do amazing things. Did you know 95% of the water trees drink gets evaporated into the atmosphere? Watch the video HERE

Recycling Campaign

The VEC put together a presentation for all elementary schools in town. The content and pictures were generated locally by VEC members targeting third and fourth grade students, as requested by Frank Albano, Laning Avenue School Principal. After receiving the approval of Charles Sampson, former Superintendent of Verona Public Schools, the VEC presented this program at the following schools: Forest Ave., Laning Ave. (pictured here), F.N.Brown, Brookdale Ave. and Our Lady of the Lake. The Verona Recycling Center located at 10 Commerce Ct. is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. And reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can. Recycling questions, call 973-857-4804. For more information contact us. READ MORE

Forest Avenue School celebrated Earth Day by hosting four Recycling Workshops on 2013. Students Grade 1 through 4 participated in hands-on presentations organized by the school SCA and the Verona Environmental Commission. Students demonstrated how to flatten corrugated cardboard boxes to be dropped off at the Verona Recycling Center. They sorted out items for recycling collection learning the difference between aluminum and tin cans, corrugated cardboard and paper board, etc. They learned about household hazardous waste and items made with 100% recycled content. Sometimes recycling can be a bit confusing, but now students are experts on Verona's Recycling Programs! Pictured student Stephanie Zimany sorting recyclable items.

Verona's Earth Day

The VEC celebrated Earth Day on April 14th at the Verona Recycling Center. Residents brought their recyclable items and chatted about local environmental matters. Fabric canvas bags with the Verona logo were distributed free of charge as well as Township recycling bins and barrels. Pictured below is Verona resident Jane Niven receiving a recycling barrel from VEC member Tony Saltalamacchia . To see more pictures of this event please click HERE.